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‘Blue Beetle: Graduation Day’ #5 shows off a young superhero coming alive
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Blue Beetle: Graduation Day’ #5 shows off a young superhero coming alive

For some heroes, gap years aren’t worth it.

Balancing life as a superhero, a fresh high school graduate, and a waiter is never easy. Yet, at some point, everyone needs to take the plunge and plan out their future. In Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #5, that’s exactly what Jaime Reyes has to learn. With the Horizon, the Justice League, and the Reach all weighing on his shoulders, Josh Trujillo and Adrian Gutierrez have put together a story that turns the third Blue Beetle’s entire life on its head.

SPOILERS AHEAD for Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #5!

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After Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #1 revealed that a deadly group of refugees has been hunting Jaime, the Justice League has been trying to force him to keep his head low. Yet Jaime is no longer satisfied with a low profile. As the Justice League faces off against the Horizon, Jaime refuses to stay out of the fight — even if Ted Kord tells him to.

With Starfire defending him, Jaime launches into the fray, where Cyborg has developed a tool to decouple the scarabs from the Horizon. Starfire explains that the Horizon are actually mythical heroes from Starfire’s homeworld. The Beetles have secretly been protecting Tamaran’s heroes all along. Cyborg is distinctly unimpressed.

Ted Kord yelling at Jaime, who blasts off to a fight.

DC Comics

When Jaime charges off to stop the Horizon, he comes face-to-face with the Golden Age hero Black Condor. As Condor keeps Jaime down, Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #5 shifts gears to the Horizon. As they desperately fight off the Justice League, Shazam and Jessica Cruz are swiftly defeated. Ted Kord, meanwhile, has been busy breaking Justice League communications. It’s his attempt to help Jaime, showing some Blue Beetle solidarity along the way.

As Ted works, Jaime is chained down by the Flash. Yet, moments after being chained, the Horizon comes to his rescue and frees him. Cyborg shoots his scarab-breaking weapon at the Yellow Beetle, Dynastes. Finally, Jaime jumps in to save the day.

After being shot, Jaime is forced to face his fears. His family and friends bear down on him, hoping to compel him to make a decision about his future. Jaime refuses, but the Reach’s Negotiator attempts to compel him to give in to the Scarab. Finally, Jaime realizes that it isn’t him suffering a paralyzing fear: Khaji-Da is.

Jaime reconciles with his Scarab, who begins to communicate with him for the first time since Blue Beetle: Graduation Day began. Along the way, he embraces the Blue Beetle legacy and earns himself an upgrade: The Legado Armor.

Despite Black Condor’s vehement disagreement, the Justice League agrees to let Jaime take charge. Yet, to their surprise, the Horizon arrives in a massive ship.

Once again, Gutierrez’s art sets this book apart from the rest of DC’s lines. With its incredible expressive artwork, the issue really expresses the unique feel that comic books can offer. Besides the expressive Beetles, Black Condor’s design also looks utterly incredible and makes him appear to be a real force to be reckoned with. Paired with Wil Quintana’s coloring, Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #5 truly feels alive and ever in motion.

Cyborg joining the fight in Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #5

DC Comics

The only fault in the artwork is that the Legado Armor feels like a step back for Jaime. The suit feels busy and overdesigned, while also throwing in an overdone lightning motif that other heroes have incorporated much better. It may improve when in motion, but just feels like a waste. Every superhero eventually gets a new costume, but Jaime already has a perfect look that really doesn’t need updating, especially when the Blue Beetle movie is using Jaime’s original design.

While the art remains impeccable, the story could use some polishing. Outside of Cyborg, the Justice League feel like little more than set dressing. Even Cyborg is just there to be a MacGuffin to help Jaime and Khaji-Da reconnect. The Flash at one point disappears from the fight without explanation and never really contributes again.

Additionally, despite being a story about Jaime connecting with the Blue Beetle legacy, Ted Kord is barely a presence. Outside of chastising Jaime and then flipping his motivations on a dime, he may as well not be in Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #5 at all. It’s a missed opportunity, given all that Ted has contributed to the Blue Beetle mantle. Though Trujillo continues to have a strong grasp on Jaime and a great willingness to incorporate Spanish into the book, the rest of his world could still use some development.

Still, while it has its flaws, anyone who enjoys Jaime Reyes will love having the chance to see the third Blue Beetle return to action. With Jaime finally earning the respect of the Justice League, it will be interesting to see the hero face off against the Horizon with Batman, Superman, and Black Condor at his side. If the art remains this good through the last issue, it is absolutely worth checking out the entire Blue Beetle: Graduation Day series.

‘Blue Beetle: Graduation Day’ #5 shows off a young superhero coming alive
‘Blue Beetle: Graduation Day’ #5 shows off a young superhero coming alive
Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #5
While it has its flaws, anyone who enjoys Jaime Reyes will love having the chance to see the third Blue Beetle return to action. With Jaime finally earning the respect of the Justice League, it will be interesting to see the hero face off against the Horizon with Batman, Superman, and Black Condor at his side. If the art remains this good through the last issue, it is absolutely worth checking out the entire Blue Beetle: Graduation Day series.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.9
The art and coloring remain amongst DC's best.
Jaime's growth couldn't come at a better time.
It's always fun to see Khaji-Da and Jaime improve their connection.
Ted Kord and the Justice League are little more than set dressing.
That new suit could really use another look.
8
Good
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